Skip to main content

What Can We Learn About the ‘Country Ownership’ of International Climate Finance by Employing a Relational Conception of Scale?

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
The Political Economy of Climate Finance: Lessons from International Development

Part of the book series: International Political Economy Series ((IPES))

  • 457 Accesses

Abstract

Country ownership re-frames development aid as development cooperation that empowers national governments to choose and implement policies. This chapter addresses a conceptual impasse where a lack of clarity about what it means and how to use it blunts country ownership. I argue that a relational conception of scale can unpack development work and look beyond reified generalities that limit explanatory value in a hierarchical interpretation. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) exemplifies this muddled thinking, where country ownership is simultaneously presented as a principle, investment criteria and an outcome. South Africa has a varied and dynamic partnership with the GCF which I frame as an assemblage to explore who and what steers climate finance in a relational ontology. Four analytical categories are distilled to operationalize and distinguish a relational approach from a hierarchical one. This permits an empirical analysis of how projects are assembled that acknowledges the wide range of contingency and possibility. I demonstrate (1) a material-human hybridity; (2) how complex social actors imprint in proceedings indirectly; (3) what shapes categories of actors that own proceedings in an emergent sense; and (4) how raised expectations and misunderstandings help and hinder different project development processes. This re-affirms the value of relational scale in human geography and enlivens country ownership conceptually. It advances a heuristic generalization that highlights partial scalar effects and moves analysis beyond pre-figured labels and a version of ownership premised on multiplicity, immanence and emergence. This nuance is missed when a hierarchical conception of scale is applied.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

eBook
USD 16.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

Notes

  1. 1.

    Country ownership is less applicable in some aid dynamics, for example in some fragile state contexts.

  2. 2.

    https://www.greenclimate.fund/about.

  3. 3.

    https://www.greenclimate.fund/how-we-work/tools/entity-directory.

  4. 4.

    https://www.greenclimate.fund/project/fp098.

  5. 5.

    The South African Green Fund and the Green Climate Fund, for example.

Bibliography

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jonathan Barnes .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Barnes, J. (2022). What Can We Learn About the ‘Country Ownership’ of International Climate Finance by Employing a Relational Conception of Scale?. In: Cash, C., Swatuk, L.A. (eds) The Political Economy of Climate Finance: Lessons from International Development. International Political Economy Series. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-12619-2_5

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics